Beast by A. Zavarelli

33787861Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Twisted Ever After #1

***FYI: Over at my other blog, my friend did a Q&A with A. Zavarelli. Check it out.***
Darkest Beauty and the Beast retelling ever!

This book is not for everyone. It is very dark and incredibly fucked up.

Tortured as a child, Javi grew into a deranged adult. Hatred blossomed deep in his heart for the man that made him the way he was, and that man happened to be Bella’s father. Javi decided that the best way to exact revenge on him was through his daughter. Bella knew her father’s line of work was dangerous, but she had no idea what kind of man he really was. One thing is for certain about this book: it is no fairy tale.

Bella was sweet, innocent, and sensitive. Javi turned her world upside down. The things he did were cruel and demented. He used her in every way possible, using every trick in the book to play mind games with her. There was one scene in particular where she gave up hope. It was gut wrenching. I’m not sure if the outcome made it better or worse because of the cruelty of it, making her feel fear and desperation on a level she never had before.

It was impossible to hate Javi. His erratic behavior made him hard to read and predict. There were moments where the untainted side of him showed through. Unlike other beasts it was much harder to find his good side, to see the man beneath the scars.

I almost cried two times near the end of the book. Those two events were devastating. It was one of those things where I was reading and wanted to change the words on the page because I did not want to face the reality of what was happening. It was like being on a roller coaster ride of emotions, but it was worth it in the end.

I received this arc from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Wake to Dream by Lily White

wake-to-dream-2Rating: 3 stars

Alice was in therapy for her disturbing dreams. Aside from those she was too lost in her own head to know what was going on in her life. It was obvious that the dreams were sprinkled with truth, and her amnesia and mental issues were preventing her from seeing the truth. It wasn’t easy to figure out exactly what was going on. Once I thought I had things figured out, it would get twisted into something different.

It was suspenseful. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to know what was going on. Although the book was dark and had several elements that would be triggers for people, it didn’t have the same impact as these elements have in other novels. Bad things don’t seem as drastic when the MC is delusional, and half or more of what is going on isn’t really happening although it does take a while to know what is really happening and what isn’t.

The book was good, but I was waiting for a mind blowing moment that never came. There was a big twist half way through and another at the end. They weren’t predictable but weren’t particularly shocking either.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ghost by A. Zavarelli

Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Boston Underworld #3

Definitely darker than the others in the series, but I love books with emotionally disturbed characters. Talia had a shitty life. Being kidnapped shattered her fragile grasp on reality. What she went through was unimaginable and heartbreaking. It takes a special kind of strength to survive what she did. One of my favorite things about this book was that Talia’s recovery was depicted realistically. It was long, slow, torturous, and never truly complete. No one could go through the things she did and ever be the same as they were before. A small part of her would always be broken, and it made me like her even more.

It didn’t take much to see that Alexei was different than most of the men around him. There is something incredibly appealing about a mysterious man, and he was very good at keeping his secrets well guarded. Talia and Alexei were well suited since they both had issues going back to their childhoods, but his issues paled in comparison to hers. I understood why Alexei acted the way he did, but it wasn’t always appropriate. Sometimes he was downright cruel. I did like them as a couple and wanted them to be together, but I feel like there was a bit of stockholm syndrome going on. I believe she genuinely loved him, but I’m not sure she would have if she met him some other way. Towards the end I did get annoyed with Alexei. For such a smart man he was blind to what was going on around him. It was obvious who really wanted to hurt him, and everyone but him could see it.

This is a hard one to rate. It’s a toss up if this should be 4 or 5 stars. I really can’t decide. It’s close to 5 stars but just not quite.

I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!!!

Scryer by Sinden West

25361744Rating: 3.5 stars

Series: Scryer #1

Ivy was a scryer, which meant she could tell people’s futures from touching them. Being close to people was complicated. Isolation was the easiest way for her to deal with her situation. Even when she did find one of the rare people whose futures she couldn’t tell, she didn’t want an emotional connection with them. Her family had a special connection with the Corin family. An old pact between the two families required scryers to spend one night a month with a member of the Corin family. Only they had the ability to force scryers to tell them what they wanted to know about the future after having sex.

Ivy was not happy about her fate. She was bitter and cold as a result. Her misery made her hard to like. Yet I did sympathize with her. She was in a difficult situation was was dealing with it the best she could.

There was a love triangle of sorts, but it wasn’t angsty and aggravating. Ivy had some interest in two men. Lake was her ex who has spurned her, but she couldn’t entirely let go of her feelings for him. The other guy was Caleb, who she mainly enjoyed using for sex. Both men were assholes. Nothing about her situation with the two guys was romantic or sweet. She didn’t let them walk all over her either. There was an unconventional HEA, but it wasn’t really about love.

The scryers were alarmed because someone was killing them. I had been surprised to discover who was behind it. Almost every character in this story was bad or just downright evil, which made it harder to figure out who was killing people. Towards the end the story took a turn in a direction I hadn’t expected. Although the ending wasn’t really pleasant, it worked for this story. A happy, perfect HEA would have been lame.

Dark Night of the Soul by Kitty Thomas

513hywaxwjl-_sx323_bo1204203200_Rating: 2 stars

This world alternates between 1000 hours of darkness (night) and 1000 hours of light (day). People must be civil and obey the law during the day, but at night anything is fair game. Being caught outside at night was dangerous. Helene wasn’t able to make it home before night and was captured.

I didn’t like either of the main characters. At the beginning Helene was severely depressed. Although I understood why she felt the way she did, I couldn’t empathize with her. About halfway through her emotional state changed. I really couldn’t connect with her at that point. Her feelings just weren’t believable. Gabriel liked to be in control. The only thing to like about him was that he could have been worse and wasn’t.

The paranormal aspect was downplayed. Gabriel was a vampire. He drank blood, could alter people’s thoughts, and was weakened during the day. The paranormal stuff could have been taken out and the story would have been pretty much the same.

Gabriel’s behavior wasn’t any different than most powerful men in dark romances. Romance isn’t really the right word to define this story. There wasn’t any love or heartfelt feelings. Helene was Gabriel’s captive until morning came. It annoyed me that Helene was special in Gabriel’s eyes; he treated her differently than the average captive. There were several sex scenes, which were consensual, but they were more clinical than erotic.

Corrupt by Penelope Douglas

corruptRating: 4 stars

I was sucked into the story from the start. The suspense was killing me. I had to know what was going to happen next, so I pulled an all nighter to finish it. Basically this was a revenge romance. Michael and Rika never really had a relationship, but the two of them were just drawn to each other. The sparks flew when they were together even when they weren’t being nice. No matter what the fuck was going on I found myself shipping them.

The sex scenes were hot and a little edgy. One particular scene may be a deal breaker for some people, but I don’t think it was in the story just for shock value. It totally fit with the game Michael and Rika had going on. The point was to up the game, to push the boundaries, and they did that. It was glorious.

Michael and Rika had a long, complicated history, but on devil’s night 3 years ago things went horribly wrong. Rika wanted to move on with her life, but Michael and his friends couldn’t let go of the past and wanted Rika to pay. There were two concurrent storylines: one in the past and one in the present. For quite a while I had no clue what was going on in either of them. The past and present was also told from both Michael and Rika’s perspective. I loved getting glimpses into both of their heads but Michaels in particular. What was going on in his head was often totally different than how he acted. Sometimes I loved Michael and other times I hated him.

This would have been a 5 star book if there had been a mindfuck at the end. I kept waiting for it, and it never happened. I didn’t have everything figured out, but I thought the person who caused all the chaos on devil’s night was obvious. The bad guy was too transparent, but it didn’t ruin anything for me. The only other thing that could have been better was how Rika handled things after the big reveal. She was too forgiving way too fast. Aside from those minor issues the story was damn good.